With U.S. lenders continuing to shy away from construction projects, a Thousand Oaks-based developer, Meeker Land & Development Co., has turned to a French bank, Banque Sofal, to finance two new residential projects in northwest Oxnard.
Banque Sofal is providing $30 million in credit for the twin development of moderately priced houses at Vineyard Avenue and Ventura Road.
"We think European financing will become a trend among U.S. developers," said Richard K. Meeker, the construction firm's sales and marketing director. "We've found that fewer and fewer domestic lenders are interested in backing projects."
It's understandable that Meeker Land, a third-generation Southern California builder, should call on a French source to finance its new projects, which will total 160 single-family units when completed. Meeker Land has a European division that's been building residential and commercial projects in France for a number of years. The company says it ranks among the top five construction firms in France.
In fact, several other French banks, including Banque Nationale de Paris, have expressed an interest in backing other Meeker Land projects in Ventura County, Meeker said.
Meeker Land bought the 50-acre site for its new projects from Glenfed Development, the residential building arm of Glendale Federal Bank. The projects, called Les Maisons at River Ridge and Le Village at River Ridge, are scheduled to open in January.
Meeker Land is only one of several developers that have recently launched new residential projects in northwest Oxnard.